Saturday, June 27, 2009

Keeping Up with the Violence

I listen to the news on the radio, read it online and watch it on TV. I do this because I'm sadistic. I believe that the world is a horrible place for human beings to live, and I need regular validation. The news is brutal. There's so much rape and murder in this city alone, journalists have to take their pick on which story is better. That is, which story is worse. "What will make their stomachs churn tonight?"

It's not so much that the actual newspeople are concerned with gruesome events, the problem is with the people who ingest this media. After all, it's the consumer's choice what they decide to put into their minds and bodies. We are a sick bunch of humans. If we can't watch gladiators kill slaves at the Coliseum anymore, we satisfy our primal urges by keeping ourselves informed of the daily death news. We're just sick. Humans need violence, even if they won't commit the acts themselves, they need to know it exists.

Even our grandparents, the people who will never go to an R-rated movie after hearing Clark Gable say "damn" in Gone with the Wind, ingest the news on a daily basis. They hear about the latest story of gang cross fire killing a five year old on the south side and shake their heads, "what a shame. What a shame." And that's the full extent of their remorse. They know violence continues, they accept it, and they drink their Lipton tea.

Our great religion is based entirely on violence. Through the crucifixion of Christ, we find our salvation. Without his bloody, awful death, we cannot be saved. Violence speaks so directly to the heart of humanity. We all understand it so clearly, not mentally of course, but innately. Subconsciously. Violence keeps us grounded in the animal kingdom.

But when a wolf rips into a rabbit, tearing through the fur and tugging its guts out, there's nothing violent about that. That's nature, and nothing more. Oh, but if a human subtly sticks a rusty knife into the neck of 10 year old boy in a public setting, now that's headline news! We need to know about our violence. If we lose violence, we lose our nature. Our spiritual side becomes malnourished if we forget about the torture they put Christ through. Without violence, we are robots. Violence proves our emotion and passion. It proves that we believe in things. We go to war for a cause. We set the electric chair a-glowin' for political reasons. And I won't even get started on abortion.

Don't be surprised anymore. We are fearsome creatures, capable of intense evil. This is true of all humans. There is not one person incapable of murder. I am capable of murdering you. You can just as easily murder me. But let's hold off. We can just watch the news and get our satiation just before Conan and Letterman help us laugh it all away.

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